WHO AFRO Outbreaks and Other Emergencies, Week 33: 11 - 17 August (Data as reported by 17:00; 17 August 2018)
This Weekly Bulletin focuses on selected acute public health emergencies occurring in the WHO African Region. The WHO Health Emergencies Programme is currently monitoring 60 events in the region. This week’s edition covers key ongoing events, including:
Ebola virus disease in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Typhoid fever in Zimbabwe
Measles in Chad
Cholera in Niger
Humanitarian crisis in Democratic Republic of the Congo.
For each of these events, a brief description, followed by public health measures implemented and an interpretation of the situation is provided.
A table is provided at the end of the bulletin with information on all new and ongoing public health events currently being monitored in the region, as well as events that have recently been closed.
Major issues and challenges include:
The Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has rapidly evolved in the last week, with several new cases and deaths occurring. More new cases are expected to occur in the coming days and weeks as people who were earlier exposed to infections develop illness. Similarly, the actions taken now to avert further exposures to infections will be critical in containing this outbreak.
Meticulous identification and rigorous monitoring of potential contacts, rapid investigation and immediate isolation of suspected cases form the bedrock of the strategies to contain the current outbreak. Aware of the prevailing circumstances, the topmost priority remains strengthening these aspects of the response as well as other components of the response structures on the ground.
The Zimbabwe Ministry of Health and Child Care has reported a confirmed typhoid fever outbreak in Gweru city, Midlands Province. The outbreak started in early-July 2018 and quickly evolved to affect many people. The affected city is situated between Harare and Bulawayo, putting both cities at high risk of importing the disease. Harare city has had large outbreaks of typhoid fever in the recent past, causing significant public health and socio-economic consequences. The current typhoid fever outbreak in Gweru city calls for immediate attention from the national authorities and partners to avoid escalation of the situation and further spread of the disease to the neighbouring cities, especially Harare.